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Why I won’t be eating GM sweetcorn May 25

Last week, the European Commission agreed to lift the EU’s ban on selling genetically modified food for human consumption by approving the sale of Bt-11 sweetcorn (and there’s a brand name that’ll have tins flying off the shelves).

Much news coverage of this has been slightly misleading as this change in the rules does not affect the planting of GM crops, only their sale. One of the principle arguments against the growth of GM crops is that they may "infect" organic produce and thereby reduce choice for those consumers who wish to be able to purchase "uncontaminated", "natural" produce. But, by the same argument, those who wish to buy GM should be able to do so. GM sweetcorn will be labelled as such and those who are concerned about its effects should avoid it. At the risk of sounding like a free marketeer (and I don’t mean Porthos), if consumers don’t buy GM crops, there will be no point in companies’ producing them. If they do sell, it’s because consumers are happy to eat them, in which case they should be allowed to.

I will be boycotting this Bt-11 sweetcorn myself, as I don’t like sweetcorn.

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